This is part 5 of the series on San Sebastian, Girona, and Barcelona, Spain. Other parts of this series (as they become available) can be found at this link.
The area around San Sebastian is beautiful and perfect for hiking. Beaches, water, verdant hills, and quaint seaside villages - San Sebastian is just really, really pretty.
A popular route that a friend recommended to me was a 7 kilometer coastal hike to a fishing village called Pasajes de San Pedro. It looks beautiful and I would have loved to try it. However, because we didn’t have enough time to complete a longer hike like that, Bryan and I instead opted to do smaller hikes right within San Sebastian.
Thankfully, there are many great options right nearby in San Sebastian.
San Sebastian Hiking Route 1: Mount Urgall
Mount Urgull is one of the two “peaks” in San Sebastian. It is part of a larger network of well maintained paved paths that are very easy to hike. If you're staying near the center of town, Mount Urgall is within walking distance.
We spent an hour one morning climbing to the top of Mount Urgull where a large statue of Jesus Christ (Sagrado Corazon or "Sacred Heart") stands overlooking the city.
Most of the paths are paved and well-marked. It takes less than an hour to get to the top, where you can explore Castilla de la Mota, a fortress which was built in the 12th century (!) as well as see the Christ statue up close.
For us, it was the perfect morning exercise before a full day of eating!
This is the path from our hotel with Mount Urgall to our left. Even on a cloudy day (with spots of rain), the walk was still refreshingly calming and beautiful.
San Sebastian Hiking Route 2: Mount Igeldo
The other peak in San Sebastian is Mount Igeldo, which sits on the opposite side of the bay.
You can also climb up Mount Igeldo, or you can do what we did, take the funicular (tram) up the mountain for a sweat-free, pleasant ride to the top for some fantastic views of the entire region. The prices are pretty reasonably priced, 3,75 Euros for an adult round trip ticket. [funicular ticket info]
At the top there’s an old school style amusement park with kiddie rides that look like they came out of the 1920’s (they did!). In some ways it looks a bit out of place, but for people who have lived in San Sebastian all their lives, it is a nostalgic reminder of their childhood.
The views are stunning from all sides of the peak, whether it be the side facing the open sea or the side facing the bay and the town.
San Sebastian Hiking Route 3: Take a Stroll Along La Concha Beach
La Concha Beach sits between Mount Urgall and Mount Igueldo. The beach itself has fantastic views of the two mountains, soft sand, and crystal blue water.
It's not surprising that it is Europe's best beach, according to TripAdvisor.
If you want to take a walk along the beach, you can either walk right on the sand along the water or walk on the elevated boardwalk that runs along the beach. If you get too hot, you can duck into one of the air-conditioned hotels and enjoy a drink at the bar.
One a sunny day, the beach can get crowded. There's a part of me that regrets not heading out to the beach on one of the cloudy days earlier in our trip (see photo above of the empty beach on a cloudy but warm day).
Despite the crowds, we still enjoyed our time at La Concha Beach. The views of the surrounding mountains are really beautiful, and the water is still lovely.
All in all, there are many, many places where you can walk and enjoy San Sebastian's beautiful views. You can take a relaxing stroll along the beach, explore the network of trails near Mount Urgall, or get a workout climbing one of the two mountains nearby.
If you want to hike even further, there are numerous trails that go to nearby fishing villages. If I ever go back to San Sebastian, that's what I'm going to try next. It's a great way to work off all the food that you'll inevitably eat while in San Sebastian!